Last Friday (April 16), FEAR FACTORY released its first new song in over five years, "Disruptor". The track will appear on the band's upcoming album, "Aggression Continuum", due on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records.
"Aggression Continuum" features guitarist, songwriter and co-founder Dino Cazares; drummer Mike Heller; and former vocalist, lyricist, and co-founder Burton C. Bell, who laid down his vocal tracks for the LP in 2017. It was produced and engineered by Damien Rainaud (DRAGONFORCE, ONCE HUMAN), with keyboards by Igor Khoroshev (ex-YES), and programming on two songs from longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). "Aggression Continuum" was mixed by Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, TRIVIUM), who also worked on FEAR FACTORY's previous album, 2015's "Genexus".
In a new interview with "The Jasta Show", the video podcast hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta, Cazares was asked if FEAR FACTORY will eventually make a new album with Bell's replacement. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, we're gonna definitely do a new record with a new singer. We're gonna continue with somebody else. Obviously, everybody knows that Burton quit the band, for whatever reasons.
"A lot of people are saying, 'Oh, [the new FEAR FACTORY singer is] gonna be Howard Jones [formerly of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE].' 'Jamey Jasta is gonna do it.' 'Mark Hunter from CHIMAIRA…' A bunch of different people that people are suggesting. As much as I love all those singers, I kind of wanna give an unknown guy a shot. Obviously, a lot of the guys that I mentioned, like you and Howard, you guys have a lot of stuff on your plate; you guys can make your own band and be successful. I kind of wanna get somebody — just a raw talent, and just bring that guy in, and he can just hit those beautiful, soaring melodic vocals every night. 'Resurrection', 'Linchpin' — all those big melodic songs, I want somebody who's gonna be able to handle all of that flawlessly."
Dino went on to say that he has "a few people" under consideration to be the new FEAR FACTORY singer, but that he hasn't made his decision yet. He also elaborated on the challenge of finding a vocalist that can handle everything from a death metal-like growl to a harmonious sound.
"The thing is what I just said — the melodic soaring vocals," he said. "There's a lot of guys who can't do heavy and those type of vocals like that. I mean, you hear a lot of screamo bands that scream, but then when they go heavy, they sound like BLINK-182 doing these vocals. Or some guys can do some sort of melodic vocals, but they can't really do the beautiful soaring vocals. I mean, Burt couldn't do 'em after a while; it's difficult.
"I've talked to a lot of guys that are really good, and I would be, like, 'Are you sure you can handle this every night?" he added. "We're gonna be on tour for at least a year and a half. Are you gonna be able to do this?' And some guys chicken out. I tell 'em straight up — remember, you're gonna be away from your family. If you've got kids, you've gotta be a lifer; you've gotta be able to handle this stuff. You've gotta be able to be on the road for X amount of time."
Last September, Bell issued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he "cannot align" himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect. He also ruled out a possible reconciliation with Cazares down the line, saying: "I'm done. I haven't spoken to Dino in three years. I haven't spoken to Raymond [Herrera, former drummer] and Christian [Olde Wolbers, former bassist] in longer than that, and I have no intention to. I'm just moving forward with my life."
In October, Dino issued a statement in which he said that the door for Burton to come back to FEAR FACTORY wouldn't "stay open forever." The guitarist also revealed that Burton "lost his legal rights" to the FEAR FACTORY name "after a long court battle" with Herrera and Olde Wolbers. "I had the opportunity to do something right, and I felt that obtaining the name in full was the right thing to do for the both of us, so after nearly four years we can continue as FEAR FACTORY, to make more records and to tour," he said. "That is why it is sad to hear that he decided to quit and, in my opinion, for whatever issues he has it seems like it could've been worked out."
FEAR FACTORY has been out of the public eye since it completed a 2016 U.S. headlining tour on which it performed its classic second album, "Demanufacture", in its entirety.
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral